Retail trade body calls for economic boost in next Budget

The Scottish Government must 'put growing the economy at the very heart of its next Budget' and take steps to support consumers and retailers, the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) urged today.

Retailers need help to stimulate their investment plans, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium. Picture: John Devlin

The SRC said it had submitted to finance secretary Derek Mackay a detailed list of recommendations, such as ruling out income tax hikes and tackling business rates in a bid to boost private-sector investment before the expected publication this autumn of the 2018-19 Budget.

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SRC director David Lonsdale said: “With consumers and retailers under pressure from higher inflation, rising costs and anaemic growth, the Scottish Government has to put growing the economy at the very heart of its next Budget.

“First and foremost consumer spending, a mainstay of our economy, needs supported. Disposable incomes are flat and there is evidence customers are choosing to spend less on discretionary items as household bills rise and wages moderate.”

He said income tax rates should be kept down, “keeping consumer spending buoyant to support the economy as well as government revenue”.

“Retailers too will look for support to help them keep down prices and stimulate investment plans,” he added, citing a need to reduce the cost of high-street trading amid a struggling retail sector that has seen a net decline of 1,700 shops and 10,000 fewer jobs in the last seven years.

Lonsdale added: “With half of VAT receipts being assigned to Holyrood, our politicians have a direct stake in facilitating a flourishing retail industry.”